Monday, February 11, 2008

The Absence of Will

The textbook definition of a democracy is a government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people. Thus, the most important feature of any democracy is a competitive election which reflects the people’s will. The most obvious and direct manifestation of this will is the Congress, wherein we confer the power to make laws to 240 individuals who we trust to represent our interests from the grassroots. The executive and the judiciary serve secondary functions: one administrates and the other judges according to law. This is how a democracy ought to be. Of course, we know that what is is very far from the ideal—in fact, in this case, the ideal does not truly exist in practice anywhere in this big chunk of rock we call Earth.

Now so what? The point is, don’t feel too bad whenever you hear of news that trample your right to a democracy. Such an emotionally loaded word, democracy, for something that does not exist. What you should really feel bad about is a dictatorship. It is here in the Philippines, right now, and we are letting it happen.

When we allow the President to remove the Speaker of the House and replace him with a new one, we have a dictatorship. In allowing this, we allow one person to control our country’s law-making body which we voted to represent us. The Executive having the Legislative in its pocket and letting the world know it is a dangerous thing. Yet we let it happen.

However, I think it’s not a matter of letting but of not caring and deciding. Apathy and neutrality seem to be reasonable standpoints but both of them contribute positively only to the status quo. You see, not caring or doing anything about an issue is as good as supporting it. Dissent without action is consent, as General Lim is so fond of saying. He forgot to add: inaction, in the very first place, is consent.

A popular will precedes a democracy. An absence of will precedes a tyranny.


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